By: Sally Baker

A hidden couture treasure lies on the street of 7th in Ybor City, and I have discovered it.  Imagine the designers that you long to wear, or the one-of-a-kind cocktail dress that you see at a party and wish you had.  But who could afford such elegant and detailed designs?  Thanks to Angie Nicolas, owner of The Hot Spot 813, you can.

Every fashion-loving female knows the dress designers they love, like Jovani.  A dress by this designer would run you well over $500, but at The Hot Spot 813? Try a little over $300.  That is not a typo by any means.  That is the average running price for a Jovani original at Angie’s boutique.  I know the thoughts are churning of how this could be possible: damaged fabric, a knock off… Completely wrong.  The pristine and original designer dresses are in perfect condition with details that no ‘knock off’ could attempt to recreate.  So how does Angie do it?  Relationships.  We have all heard the old saying, “It’s all about who you know,” and Angie is living proof for this.  She has had a strong business relationship with this designer for over 10 years, and it is these kinds of long standing, loyal relationships that make it possible for Angie to get the best prices possible from the designers, in turn giving us the best price at her boutique.

Not only does The Hot Spot 813 in Tampa carry designers like Jovani and Riva, but on the off-chance that there is a dress that is not available, Angie will order it.  No more skimming the racks at the giant department stores, especially around prom season, and getting frustrated when that certain size is already gone.  Now we have The Hot Spot 813 with owner Angie Nicolas to not only order the dress that is unavailable at the time, but to have the reassurance that the chance of someone else having the same dress at your event in Tampa or anywhere else is near the chances of winning the lottery.  These gowns, with colors so vibrant and fresh, could never be matched by those carried in malls or other large retailers.  These are just a few of the amazing qualities that Angie possesses about wanting to give others the best experience possible.

When you enter her boutique on 1517 E. 7th Street, you will be greeted by the most elegant designer dress choices, designer shoes all falling under $79, purses and more.  Angie and her team will style you with the looks that best fit your body type, any body type for that matter, while making sure all who attend are comfortable.  Angie’s The Hot Spot 813 offers Champagne and Wine at an elegant seating area accompanied with a television for the guests who are not the biggest fans of shopping.  What’s more is that Angie has implemented complimentary cigars which would leave every man excited to shop with his female counterpart from wife, girlfriend, daughter to any dynamic.  On weekends, The Hot Spot 813 presents hors d'oeuvres ranging from strawberry pastries and cookies, to cheese and more.  And don’t forget that with a purchase, The Hot Spot 813 will validate your garage parking!

To give you an example of how desired The Hot Spot 813’s looks are, check out the celebrities that have worn her pieces.  Gwendolyn from the Price is Right, Lady G a well known local artist in Tampa, Daphnee Duplaix from One Life to Live, Kim Kardashian, Star Jones, Bridget Marquardt for E! 20thAnniversary Party, Briella Marie of Jerseylicious, Lolo Jones for the 2010 ESPN Awards, and many more not mentioned here.  Not only have celebrities loved Angie’s boutique, originally starting in Miami before her relocation to Tampa in October 2010, but the extent to which customers take to see Angie and The Hot Spot 813 also shows how desired her boutique is. 

Stories of a customer driving over 2 hours to visit Angie’s boutique are one thing, but what about from New York to Florida?  That’s right, upon my own personal visit to The Hot Spot 813 in Tampa, there was a young lady shopping for a prom dress for her special night back home… in New York.  When they were staying in Clearwater, someone told her about The Hot Spot 813, and the rest is history.  Angie and her experience, as I like to call it, touch people from all over the world, and I do mean world.  She has been known to ship pieces overseas, especially to military and their families at a discounted flat rate. 

When Angie caters to her customers, she makes it a point to make them feel like royalty.  You are most likely getting ready for a special day or evening out, and she wants to be part of the memorable experience.  It is hard not to be with such amazing designer clothes from Jovani, Riva, Terani, Savvy, Sherri Hill and even Angie’s own line entitled, Otulia with over 1200 looks available.  However, Angie finds a way to give even more to customers and those who have yet to set foot on Florida ground, let alone The Hot Spot 813 boutique in Tampa. 

Angie Nicolas first offers incredible discounts to military and other federal employees like postal workers, government and teachers with proof of identification.  These discounts are an incredible 25% off because Angie states, “Without teachers, we wouldn’t be where we are today.”  Because most positions in these fields carry low salaries but are incredibly vital careers, Angie wanted to show her appreciation and help.  This wonder woman does not stop at discounts, she blew me away with the countless acts she does to help others all over the world. 

Angie has 4 children, the oldest of 20 years was adopted 6 years ago, and money donated every year to a family in need is put in her children’s names to show them how good it feels to help others in need.  In her career beyond fashion, Angie has obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and has completed her LSAT in aspirations to go to Law School here in Tampa.  On top of being a fashion guru, mother of 4, wife to one amazing husband named Rodney, a college graduate, Angie involves herself in charity organizations including Kalos International, 1Voice Foundation, Children with A Vision and donations of prom dresses for life to any pediatric cancer stricken child.  There are also two families in Haiti affected from the earthquake that Angie has decided to help beyond what most of us could even try.  She pays their rent every year and provides them nutritional items, school supplies and any other needs they have.  Angie has a heart beyond gold, helping anyone she can whether they are a customer or an individual in need that has never seen this side of the ocean.  It is clear why The Hot Spot 813 remains such a success with an owner that has an honest and true vision of making everyone around the world happy in some way.

This is one Tampa hot spot not to be missed.  Go for the designers, go for the experience, but be forewarned because you will be guaranteed to leave styled, treated and inspired to take on the world as Angie has so eloquently done.